Today we are launching our Social Spider Community News website, where you can find out about everything that we do in the world of independent local media publishing.
Social Spider Community News is the publishing arm of Social Spider Community Interest Company (CIC), a small social enterprise developing a new, sustainable model for local news.
On this website you can read about our five local news publications in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Haringey, Enfield, Islington and Barnet; meet our staff who produce these publications; find out more about our business model and our partnerships with outside bodies; while also staying up to date with our latest news.
In 2019, the government’s Cairncross Review defined ‘public interest news’ as “the humdrum task of reporting on the daily activities of public institutions, particularly those at local level,” noting that such journalism “is in greater danger locally, mainly because the size of the potential audience for local issues is so much smaller, and thus inevitably attracts less financial support from readers”.
Our publications seek to address this danger, combining public interest news reporting by paid, professional journalists – scrutinising the work of local councils and public agencies – with features contributed by local residents and community organisations on a voluntary basis.
Social Spider offers a positive alternative to the long-term managed decline of local journalism undertaken by the large media companies. We are committed to serving the public interest of the communities we serve.
We produce five local news publications in total:
- Waltham Forest Echo, launched in 2014 to cover Waltham Forest;
- Haringey Community Press, launched in 2016 as Tottenham Community Press and relaunched to cover all of Haringey in 2021;
- Enfield Dispatch, launched in 2018 to cover Enfield;
- EC1 Echo, launched in 2019 to cover the EC1 postcode area of Islington;
- Barnet Post, launched in 2021 to cover Barnet.
David Floyd, Social Spider’s managing director, said: “We are working to develop business models for community media that will ensure the communities that need them can find high-quality journalism and information in ways that reflect the realities of their lives.
“We’re exploring the way that publications can be bootstrapped from scratch in communities that need them in the cheapest, most sustainable way.”
James Cracknell, Social Spider’s editor-in-chief, said: “In the eight years since we launched our first local news publication in Waltham Forest, we have shown that there is still a need and a demand for high-quality local journalism in the areas that we cover.
“More than 500 people now make regular monthly donations to us – via membership schemes – because our readers value the content that we produce and recognise the fact that every penny we receive is reinvested into local journalism.
“In most cases our newspapers are now the most-read local publications in their areas, and the only newspapers dedicated solely to covering those areas, with locally-based editors and contributors rooted in their communities. Last year three of our publications were shortlisted by the 2021 News Awards for ICNN Independent Community Newspaper of the Year and that is a validation of the hard work we have put in to making the best local newspapers we can.”
For more information about Social Spider Community News: